Monday, May 26, 2008


[While we don't like to make a point of telling you for whom to vote, we believe it has gotten to the point where Hillary Clinton is dividing the Democrats to damaging effect, while the odds and numbers are so stacked against her that it is impossible for her to win. Until Hillary Clinton does the honorable thing and bows out of this race, we are going to post one negative aspect of her campaign and her ideals each day (okay...this post took a little longer than one day because a LOT went into it). If you agree that it is important that the world knows each reason, then please digg it up and pass it along.]


It is one thing to smear your opponent (or someone not even technically your opponent), to bring racism, lies, xenophobia, dirt, or non-fair-play tactics into your campaign; heck, the Republicans have been doing it for decades. It is another thing, entirely, to violate the integrity of the voting system to the point where its very accuracy comes into question. And from a candidate for the presidency, voter fraud is not on the simple obnoxious level of Rush Limbaugh, but on a criminal scale that should land the normal person in prison for felony.

What's even worse is how this never seems to surface on traditional media, but is all over the place on the blogs and Internet news, giving certain groups of people with access to steady Internet much more information. It's risky business for traditional media, so they would rather stick with the tangible proof of remedial things. But...

A comparison to Nixon is NOT something to be taken lightly. In Clinton's latest ties to tampering with your votes, top supporters for her campaign have been caught making robocalls to (predominantly) black voters and voters who might otherwise vote for Barack Obama. No big deal, right? Wrong. These calls are designed to confuse the voters into believing they are not registered to vote, after the deadline for voting registration has passed, in hopes of making this niche of voters (likely to vote for Barack) stay home on primary day, believing they are not registered.

The Economist lays it out for you:

It's an odd story: a recording of someone named Lamont Williams calls voters to tell them a voter-registration packet is on its way. It's unclear whether anything arrives; what isn't unclear is that the call is well after the registration deadline. It's not too hard to imagine this call coming to an unsophisticated voter (and let me make this clear: I am in no way saying black voters, who seem to have received the lion's share of the calls, are all unsophisticated; I'm simply positing a scenario), and that voter becoming confused. Perhaps he thinks he's not registered, and calls his state's board of elections who tells him it's too late so he stays home on election day. Perhaps the board of elections doesn't know what he's talking about, and he gets frustrated and stays home, assuming he's unregistered.

The group is Women's Voices Women Vote (WVWV), and it isn't just small beans. The robocalls have entered complaints in 11 states leading up to primaries, and are currently resulting in a North Carolina Attorney General investigation (download the PDF file here) and an official NAACP complaint. And while I believe this group may have done good work in the past registering unmarried women and under-represented demographics, this year is different. This year they specifically launched a robocalling and mailing campaign designed to take place just before the primaries, but after the deadline to actually register to vote. The WVWV claims that this was clearly marked as a registration for the GENERAL election and not the primary election, but those who received the mailings and calls said it was not so very clear. And we are pretty convinced, after doing the research (and even hearing the WVWV President Page Gardner's vague direct answers - in which she insinuates that the anonymous contacting of people in their homes, suggesting that they've been specifically identified as folks who need to take additional steps in order to register to vote, is comparable to making public registration available to someone approached in a shopping center - and spokesperson Sarah Johnson's sugarcoated answers) that not only was it not clear, but it was intentionally not clear.

After Virginia, where voters said the calls were confusing, WVWV promised to stop placing the robocalls, but then didn't stop, to which they later said was just a "mistake." Yeah, oops... now there are thousands more people who are confused. Mistake, indeed. And in a final blow of incompetence, the organization failed to identify itself or give contact information in its robocalls, to which President Gardner just said, "regrettably."

Yes, regrettably, considering Gardner gave $6,700 to Hillary Clinton's campaign; WVWV Executive Director Joe Goode worked for Bill Clinton's campaign; Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff sits on the WVWV's Board of Directors, and Hillary Clinton's campaign manager was a member of WVWV's leadership team.

And in the words of The Economist:

If this were a one-time event, I might be less suspicious, but it's happened in state after state, always after the registration deadline has passed, and always shortly before the primary. This is an organi[z]ation stuffed with Washington insiders; incompetence like this simply doesn't happen over and over again, not in the same way like this. Something stinks.

Again, perhaps if the Clinton campaign hadn't shown itself to be quite so sleazy (remember those photos of Barack Obama in Somali garb?); perhaps if the calls weren't going to the constituency least likely to vote for Mrs. Clinton; perhaps if Mrs. Clinton's supporters weren't so heavily represented among WVWV's board, it wouldn't set off as many bells as it does. But something isn't right here, and it's not a simple error, either. As a scam, it seems just Rube Goldberg-ish enough to provide plausible deniability for anyone involved, but just authoritative enough to work on some voters. If it does trace back to Mrs. Clinton's campaign, it will provide further evidence that her cronies have abandoned every shred, everything that ever got them into politics in the first place.

But the real question still stands in place and should stand on the tips of everyone's tongues: If this had absolutely nothing to do with Clinton, if this had no ties or traces to her whatsoever, if her integrity here being called into question meant anything to her campaign, then why hasn't she come forth to say that she had nothing to do with it, denounce those responsible, and shed light on any "false" information? Why? Because she refuses to denounce anything that she feels might help her gain numbers, even if it means it loses her some respect by those over whom she's trying to win. Barack Obama would have denounced this or any systematic suppression of voter turnout, whether it hurt him or helped him or whatever the outcome of the suppression, simply because it was unconstitutional and goes against the leadership and direction we need now. These tactics are very much Bushistic... so why hasn't Hillary denounced them? You probably wouldn't, either, for $6,700.

But this situation does not stand alone. I remember back during the Nevada caucuses, after Super Tuesday when it was clear the Barack Obama was not just a flash in the pan, hearing from hundreds of voters and bloggers about the ill-practices, CLEARLY coming from the top of the campaign on down, that led to mass confusion of voters and votes, inside and outside the caucus room. Plain and simple: Hillary thought she had Super Tuesday pegged and underestimated Obama's intelligence and organization. With no Plan B after Super Tuesday, she had to start playing dirty. Nevada is a perfect example:

One precinct caucus captain from Clark County, Nevada, said the scene was ugly:

[...] Everyone is reporting election irregularities on the part of the Hillary campaign. There is widespread cheating and voter suppression going on all over Clark County -- and it's obviously coming in from the top down. Whether it made enough of a difference to swing the election is another question -- but there is no question that Hillary was running a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred campaign in which all of her surrogates were instructed to cheat in every way possible.

  • [...] No less than eight Obama captains (including myself) have reported that Clinton operatives tried to close the doors at 11:30 -- a full thirty minutes before the doors were supposed to close. In some cases I am hearing they actually succeeded, and voters were turned away before more knowledgeable people could get there to reopen them. The Clinton campaign had obviously told their people to be there by 11:30 -- and they knew that the higher the turnout, the worse for them.
  • At least two reports of Clinton operatives telling the uncommitteds and Edwards supporters, once their numbers were deemed not viable, that they had to leave. Whether these tactics succeeded or not, I do not know. Obviously, the Clinton campaign knew that voters not already in her camp were unlikely to join her camp (I know from my own experience that I convinced many more undecideds than my opponent Hillary operative), so they attempted to suppress their vote.
  • At least one report of Clinton operatives telling Obama supporters with viable numbers that they were not viable, and had to leave. From what I hear, some of those voters did[,] in fact[,] leave.
  • At least two reports (including my own) of disabled voters being coerced into the Clinton camp against their will, or even having their voter card filled out for them against their will.
  • A few reports of probable out-of-state Clinton operatives being counted among the voters -- though since checking ID is illegal, and other Hillary operatives from in-state would vouch for them, it's impossible to say.
  • At least one report of two large men standing outside the door checking voters for whom they would support, and telling all Obama people they were at the wrong location.
  • At least one other report of Hillary operatives doing the check-in, and telling all Obama supporters that they were not on the list, could not register at the location (not true), and that they could not caucus.
  • At least one report of ballots being filled out in advance for Hillary in mass.
  • At least one report of Hillary supporters saying that the caucus location was just the Hillary room -- and that Obama supporters had to go to a far away location.
  • At least one report of a voter registration list only in Spanish, and only with Hillary supporters on it. Obama supporters later found the registration list with the rest of the people--in the garbage can of the ladies restroom.
  • Several reports of Hillary signs on the registration table, and Hillary supporters in Hillary shirts doing registration.
The Obama hotline to report irregularities was busy for a full ten minutes [when I tried to call].

[Read this person's own personal story of obvious out-of-state Hillary operatives getting their votes counted in Nevada, here].

Another account says similar things:

[...W]e noticed that Hillary's supporters were breaking the rules by placing Hillary signs where they were not allowed and we asked them to take them down[.] [...] We then noticed, that a car sporting Hillary signage, was double-parked, blocking people who needed access to handicapped parking. We told a woman who just had a hip replacement to park her car right beside the car.

The next controversial issue involved the voter cards disappearing into the Hillary camp, so that the Edwards and Obama people were left with no cards. When we asked them to give us back some cards, we then noticed that they had all been pre-marked for Hillary.

Another controversy arose, when a Hillary supporter became hostile with the Precinct Chair because she felt that things were not moving as fast as she would have liked -- the time was only 11:00 a.m. This, along with the voter card stunt, ended up hurting the Hillary camp because the precinct chair, a known Hillary supporter, was turned off by these tactics and decided to join the Obama camp.


Because of the card stunt I described, Obama volunteers demanded a head count instead of a card count. We counted a total of 98 people, but ended up with 97 after one Edwards supporter left. The Hillary side was initially totaled at 48, but they later claimed they had 56. We discovered this was because they attempted to count 6 persons who had left the precinct before the head count by claiming they had voter cards for them, even though we had all agreed to do a head count, due to the voter card controversy.

And yet another precinct captain tells his story:

[...] When I entered the cafeteria, where my precinct was located along with two other precincts, all I saw was three "Hillary tables." I put this in quotes, because it turns out that these three tables were actually the registration tables for the separate precincts. This was the first of many problems and rules broken by the Hillary camp.


As there are four candidates left in the democratic primary, each candidate is supposed to get a corner of the "room." The Hillary camp seemed to think there were only two people in the race and placed their signs and tables across one half of the "room." We kindly reminded them, that there are four candidates and that we each needed a corner. After speaking with the Temporary Chair, they reluctantly took down the signs, and we had to move their tables ourselves.

[...T]he neighboring Temporary Head had clearly displayed his loyalty to Hillary with a fat sticker on his chest. He would end up helping the Clinton camp later on, when they started closing the doors at 11:30 a.m. (instead of 12 p.m.) as the state party had previously instructed. We had to call the Democratic Party in order to get the doors open again, for a Hillary volunteer who wouldn't settle for anything less. I would later find out, that many precincts had the same problem with Clinton volunteers refusing to let people in after 11:30.

A few moments before the 11:30 chaos, a fellow Obama volunteer came running into my room. He had been assigned to the front to direct people where to find their precinct. Voters were confused when they were headed to my room and then told by Hillary campaigners that it was a "Hillary Only" registration room. They were then directed to the gym, which was, of course, the wrong precinct. Who knows how many supporters we lost to frustration with the seeming disorganization of the process. I was horrified by this information and made sure to stay outside and essentially protect the outside portion of the line so that nobody sent them elsewhere.


Soon after the Obama precinct captain began speaking, the Hillary crowd started cheering and causing a general ruckus so nobody could hear what Kelly (our precinct captain) had to say. This was a BLATANT violation of caucus rules and this upset the Temporary Head.


Not a minute passed by before Mario, the precinct captain of the neighboring precinct came running toward me asking me for help. Apparently the Clinton supporters that had participated in my precinct had invaded their territory moments afterward, trying to get counted again. That wasn't the first scandal that took place in precinct 5029. Earlier Mario had reported to me that a woman at his registration table had been asking everyone in line, as she was checking them in, who they were voting for. She filled out the cards as supporting Hillary Clinton, even if they hadn't answered her question yet. One voter noticed her card had been marked as a Clinton supporter and made the Obama volunteers fill out a new card for her as she was an Obama supporter.

Yes, the details and the infractions go on and on, and there are too many to list. So many, in fact, that David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, made the accusations publicly, with over 200 separate allegations and irregularities at caucus sites, and the Nevada State Party sided with him.

After hearing all of this, it makes it much, much harder to believe her campaign when it says it had nothing to do with Barack Obama receiving zero votes in Harlem and other (even predominantly black) precincts during the New York primary. A review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district. This, of course, was false counting. Some say it was merely human error. Oh, really. Most informed sources beg to differ.

New York Times:

[...] The 94th Election District in Harlem, for instance, sits within the Congressional district represented by Charles B. Rangel, an original supporter of Mrs. Clinton.


Gordon J. Davis, a former New York City parks commissioner and an Obama poll watcher in the district, remained skeptical, even after being informed of the corrected count. “First it was reported at 141 to 0, now it’s 261 to 136 in an Assembly district that went 12,000 to 8,000 for Barack,” questioned Davis.


The 53rd Assembly District, in Brooklyn, is represented by the borough’s Democratic chairman, Assemblyman Vito P. Lopez, another Clinton supporter. He said the party faithful have produced lopsided margins of as much as 160 to 4 and that on Primary Day he fielded election captains in every district to galvanize Hispanic voters for Mrs. Clinton.

And even he now says that the numbers are a mistake... but only after getting called out on it with final numbers re-tallied to show that Clinton's 118-0 lead in Lopez's precinct of Bushwick, was really only 118-116. Hmmm...slight difference.

[For a great look at the numbers breakdown of the New York Primary, check out The Brooklyn Paper]

Did Clinton/Rangel have anything to do with New York areas receiving zero votes for Obama? We do not know this, although there should have been much more of an investigation because it is mighty sketchy. Facts are facts, however, and her conduct in other primaries and caucuses leaves little room to deny that the possibility of her involvement is at least plausible. At the very least...why didn't she come out and denounce the whole thing? Well...because that was not to her benefit, that's why. She would rather just take the votes and delegates silently than speak the truth about where the numbers really should go, if the allocation of delegates wouldn't help her.

These are three very key moments in this campaign history where the presidential hopeful Clinton has committed, has had campaign members who committed, or whom has come sketchily close to committing voter fraud. The very fact that her involvement cannot be ruled out; that she doesn't come forward and denounce these actions as unpatriotic and illegal; or that she is taking money from, or being a little too close to, the source is REASON ENOUGH to keep her away from the presidency. She is just not honest enough. She is just too much like Bush to be trusted. We saw what can happen when someone untrusted takes office for eight years. It's time for someone we trust.